It’s what’s inside that counts, but it never hurts to be pretty.
Similar to motorcycle models, helmet manufacturers add a few new features and a slew of color options each year. Of course, solid colors are always in the lineup but snazzy graphics not only help riders stand out among one another but also grab the attention of fellow motorists. Whether you’re an individualist or a Hi-Viz warrior, there’s bound to be a design to fit your tastes. Shoei proves as much with its 2021 graphics for the X-Fourteen, GT-Air II, and Neotec II helmets.
Starting with the pack leader, Shoei’s X-Fourteen provides top-of-the-line protection and MotoGP-developed aerodynamics. Without one Marc Marquez on the grid in 2020, circuit-specific variants like the X-Fourteen America or Motegi aren’t updated for the new year. However, the Tokyo-based brand went retro this year, celebrating the late Norifumi Abe with the Norick graphic.
The design calls back to Shoei’s X-11 model worn by “Norick” before his untimely passing in a road traffic accident in 2007. Aside from the pretty paint job, the X-Fourteen also gains a new Double Lock CWR-F racing shield with a Pinlock visor on the inside and a tear-off system on the outside. The lid’s redesigned rear stabilizer improves aerodynamics while reducing buffeting on the rider and the super lightweight shell makes the X-Fourteen a must for racers and track rats. Pricing is yet to be announced on the new colorway, but the model’s rider-specific graphics typically come in at the $889 price point.
If you prefer the open road and maximum airflow, the GT-Air II has been a favorite for years. The sport-touring helmet now features three air inlets and six exhaust ports to facilitate ventilation. The signature sun visor returns in 2021 and the versatile lid comes prepped for the Sena SRL2 comm system (sold separately).
To spice up the all-arounder for the upcoming riding season, Shoei expanded the range’s diverse color options. Graphics such as Emblem TC-5, Haste TC-2 and TC-4, Insignia TC-1, TC-2, and TC-5, and Panorama TC-5, TC-8, and TC-10 join the ranks. Whether it’s the branding-heavy Insignia line or the race-inspired Panorama, there’s a design that suits all the road riders in your group. All graphic variants cost $699, a one-hundred-dollar markup over the solid GT-Air IIs.
For those long hauls, the Neotec II features a chin spoiler and cheek pads designed for noise reduction. The modular helmet provides ample ventilation, even while closed, thanks to the inlets at the crown and chin along with outlets at the rear. Adventurers should also revel in the fact that the new Neotec features a removable and washable 3D center pad, cheek pads, and chin strap.
Offered in Separator (TC-3, 5, and 10) and Respect (TC-1, 5, and 10), the 2021 Neotec II graphics capture the technological aspects of the helmet. While pricing on the Respect design isn’t available yet, the Respect variant carries an MSRP of $799. The new graphics should be available at Shoei dealers in late fall, just in time to make it on our holiday gift lists.